Lyons Township High School's Emma Fink is certainly a throwback to the old days of multi-sport athletes. The Western Springs resident excels in three sports for the Lions.
This season in volleyball, Fink recorded 213 kills, 146 digs, 36 aces, 43 blocks and a .296 hitting percentage. She received All-Area honors and will attend Providence College in the fall on a volleyball scholarship.
"It was a perfect fit when I went there," Fink said about her recruiting trip to Providence, Rhode Island. "At first, I really wasn't expecting to love it. I thought it'd be another college visit checked off the list. (But) as soon as I got there, I saw a beautiful campus. I met with the coaches and they were very nice."
In basketball, Fink provides a good post presence for the Lions. Her stellar play both offensively and defensively has helped lead LTHS to a 17-9 record as the state tournament begins this week.
"Emma is an incredibly hard-working player," LTHS senior guard Tessa Elliott said. "Whether it's at practice or during the game, she gives 110 percent and always with a smile on her face. Even though she's the sweetest girl on the team, she's a beast on the court and a crucial part of our team's success."
And once basketball season ends, she will join the track and field team. Last season, she finished in a tie for 14th at the Class 3A state meet, clearing 5 feet and 5 inches.
"Emma has been a great high jumper for us the past 3 years. She has earned all-conference honors each year both indoors and outdoors and she became a conference champion last year," LTHS track coach Greg Frandsen said. "She is a great example for the other girls to follow. They learn a lot just by watching her compete."
In terms of a favorite sport, Fink embraces all three.
"I've always loved volleyball, basketball and track. I've never really been able to pick a favorite one," Fink said. "I couldn't imagine not playing any of them. I've had some nice coaches who have worked with me and I've never been forced to make a choice.
"In addition, it helps me stay in good shape. I work different muscle groups in each sport and I haven't gotten injured."
Fink also excels in the classroom. Recently, she was named an Illinois State Scholar - the highest academic achievement a student can earn.
"Schoolwork has always been very important to me," she said. "I've tried to make it a focus even while playing sports and hope to keep it that way. At the end of the day, I probably won't be an Olympic athlete, but I'll need all the things I learned in school.
So what's the key to Fink's all-around success?
"Time management," she said. "Knowing how to manage your time efficiently to get everything done is very important. Communication with coaches and teachers is also important."
Both Elliott and LTHS girls basketball coach Paul Krick appreciate the unique talents and intangibles Fink has provided for the team over the last four years.
"The number one thing I love about Emma's game is her phenomenal rebounding," Elliott said. "Her rebounds on offense and defense are so valuable to our team and how we perform.
She added, "Another thing I love about her game is how she always plays with her heart in every single game. It's evident to everyone watching her how passionate she is basketball."
Fink impressed Krick with a double-double performance of 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 66-47 win over Oak Park and River Forest on Jan. 27.
"One of the things you can always count on with Emma is that when she touches the floor, she gives you everything she has," Krick said after that game. "She cleans up shots by others and she's our inside anchor when it comes to defense."
Before Fink dons her track spikes, she and her teammates will focus on the Class 4A state playoffs in hoops. Fink is confident that the Lions can make a strong postseason showing.
"As a team, we started (the season) really strong, winning our own Thanksgiving tournament," she explained. "Then we got into conference play and started well, but then around Christmas and into early January, there was a slide in our play.
"Lately, we've been coming together and working well as a team, We have high hopes entering the state tournament."
No matter the outcomes of both the basketball and track seasons, Fink will leave a legacy behind for others to follow. Fink is thankful to LTHS for helping her develop as a person. She also has a message that can apply to not only life but any aspect of life.
"You have to do what you love to do," Fink said. "If I have a goal in mind, I know I have to work hard to reach it."